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New travel measures to curb COVID-19 must replace quarantines: WTTC

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has said that it supports measures designed to curb COVID-19 and protect public health but calls for the complete removal of unnecessary quarantines.

“WTTC has long called for an internationally recognised rapid and cost-effective testing regime upon departure at airports worldwide. This would avoid exporting the virus, especially by departing outbound passengers, and aid the restoration of international travel,” Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said.

“Requiring inbound travellers and holiday-makers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test should ensure safe travel. This will be critical to encourage essential bookings for future flights and holidays. However, there is still uncertainty around the type of tests which will be accepted upon arrival, and they must be made widely accessible and affordable for all. But unlike many other countries where the proof of a negative test has replaced quarantines, to further insist all arriving travellers must isolate for 10 days or undergoes a further test 5 days later is an unnecessary precaution. It will only stifle travel, putting yet more pressure on the embattled travel and tourism sector,” the association added.

Continuing with these damaging quarantines and added unnecessary restrictions will impact forward bookings which will be vital to revive international air travel, bring back travel sector jobs and resuscitate the global economy, while also protecting public health.

According to the WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, the importance of inbound international visitors is laid bare; international visitor spend in 2019 contributed £28.2 billion, representing 4.2% of the UK’s total exports. “Travel & Tourism is critical to the UK’s economic well-being and is responsible for almost four million jobs, or 11% of the country’s total workforce.”

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